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The last time Arizona fans saw something like this was in 2012 when the Wildcats won their fourth College World Series title. First time in the postseason since, they are headed to the Super Regionals at Mississippi State, where Greg Byrne was the athletic director before moving to Tucson six years ago.
"The last time I was in a dogpile, I was 12. Guys are a lot bigger now. I was just trying not to get hurt." –Cameron Ming
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Information provided by the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report.
Picked to finish ninth in the preseason Pac-12 baseball poll coming off no postseason appearances in four years, Arizona is a Super Regional away from returning to the College World Series.
One important person for making this happen: Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, who hired Jay Johnson from Nevada to replace the retired Andy Lopez. When he was AD at Mississippi State, Byrne hired John Cohen, who will match wits against Johnson in a best-of-three series at Starkville.
Arizona is going to Mississippi State thanks to winning its third game in two days Monday night to capture the Lafayette NCAA Regional. Arizona beat the Ragin’ Cajuns 3-1 in a winner-take-all regional final game to advance. A start date for the series with Mississippi State is expected to be announced by Tuesday.
The Cats advanced Monday behind the pitching of right-hander Kevin Ginkel and left-hander Cameron Ming. Ginkel, who earned the save in the first game Monday, started in the final game and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks. He struck out three. He gave way to Ming in the sixth, and the lefty closed the door on the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Ming went 3 1/3 innings to earn his first career save. Ginkel improved to 4-1 on the season.
Cody Ramer, Zach Gibbons and Bobby Dalbec all finished with two hits in the win. Ryan Aguilar and Louis Boyd each had doubles.
Arizona starting pitcher Nate Bannister was named the MVP of the regional. Bannister, who tossed seven shutout innings in Friday’s Regional opener, showed no signs of fatigue Monday morning in his second postseason start. The senior righty went seven-plus innings against Louisiana, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out five, facing 29 total batters, to lead Arizona into the final game with a 6-3 win.
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Byrne’s fingerprints will be all over this weekend’s Super Regional in Starkville.
#ArizonaWildcats beat ULL 3-1. UA at Mississippi State in Super Regional. Will be fun. Greg Byrne coaching hires: John Cohen vs. Jay Johnson
The first step of likely many triumphant steps for Jay Johnson at Arizona.
"The word champion means a lot to me. And this team can call themselves regional champions. That is very special." – @UACoachJ
Worth another look …
Ginkel came on in relief of Bannister to get the final five outs and earn his third save of the season.
Since losing four of five games to ASU and Oregon from May 13-21, Arizona has won nine of its last 10 games. The Wildcats are 42-21 overall.
Arizona has traveled in the last three weeks from Eugene, Ore. (Oregon), to Tucson (Abilene Christian), to Honolulu (Hawaii), to Lafayette, La. Now the Wildcats are headed to Starkville, Miss. Next stop: Omaha?
What a shut-down performance for the most part by Ginkel and Ming.
#ArizonaWildcats LFs & RFs didn't make out or assist in 3-1 win. Ginkel/Ming kept 15 of the 19 outs in the infield that were not strikeouts.
Member of the 2012 championship team now a right-hander at Double-A Hartford of the Eastern League.
Sean Miller and Will Parks showing some love for Arizona baseball.
Arizona Baseball over everybody else #BearDown
Not too shabby …
And then there’s this … Has this ESPN writer ever heard of pitching on two-day’s rest. If Bannister hopes to make it to the big leagues and star there, he better expect to be worked like that if he’s fortunate to be on a playoff team. And this is big: Bannister showed little or no signs of fatigue.
mommas don't let your babies pitch for the University of Arizona (because they abuse arms) https://t.co/oySsjiJpw4
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.